Why did you start practicing Bikram yoga and how long have you been practicing?
I started practicing Bikram yoga in January 2014 as part of the whole “new year, new me” idea as well as the plan to finally lose the weight I had gained with my third child (who at this point was 5 years old and no longer could I use the “I just had a baby” excuse!)
How has your practice affected your life?
Bikram yoga has made such a wonderful impact in my life. Everything has changed, and I do mean everything! I started practicing as just a way to lose weight from a vanity perspective and quickly did I realize how short-sighted I was. I’ve been fighting with my body image for years now; From being an obese child to an obese woman to losing weight in an unhealthy way … it was a constant struggle. This fight would not only affect my self esteem but my relationships with my husband and children. My stress level and anxiety was off the charts.
As I continued to practice Bikram I started to notice that I was sleeping better. My gastritis wasn’t acting up as badly as it had been, my anxiety was reduced, my level of stress was going down, and best of all: I was smiling more! By this point I wasn’t even focused on whether I had or had not lost any weight. My size didn’t seem to be the main agenda anymore: what became my priority was that I felt–and still feel–the healthiest I have ever been. I have learned how to manage stressful situations, I have learned how to be more patient with my family, and most of all, I have learned to love myself. That constant fight that I’d had for years, that fear of looking at a reflection in the mirror and hating what I saw had gone away. Because of this practice I am able to love more, feel more be more grateful for things I might have taken for granted before.
What keeps you coming back for more?
There are so many reasons I come back for more! Who doesn’t love seeing happy, sweaty glowing yogis! I’ve met so many wonderful people who are always smiling and with such positive vibes. Also, I want to continue to getting all the health benefits I can get with each class. I haven’t had a gastritis-related hospitalization in over a year! (Those events were common before I started practicing and I do not wish to go back to those days!) I also want to continue to feel good about myself so I can teach my children the importance of self-love and acceptance.
Do you have any advice/insight for new yogis?
KEEP COMING BACK! Remember that every day is different, and that it is normal to have those days were you can’t even hold one pose without falling out. Our bodies are different each day, and just as you can sometimes have those out-of-sync days, you will also have really awesome days where you might go past your norm and you might even surprise yourself, coming out of practice feeling so strong. So don’t give up, even on the bad days: Think that at the end of practice: you came to practice and that is what matters. Tomorrow is another day.